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I knew I didn’t want to go to university, and unsure of what to do next, I worked in countless ill-fitting jobs but ended up deflated that I may never find my place in the world of work.

I finally took the plunge and signed up to learn a trade because it’s hands-on, and you can take it anywhere in the world. I chose carpentry specifically as I loved the diversity and far-ranging work it includes along with the precision required. As I hadn't got the required experience, I applied for an apprenticeship so I could learn the skills needed on the job, achieve a qualification and be paid for it.

Gloucestershire College were incredibly supportive from my initial contact and throughout the course. Soon after applying, I had an interview and was immediately put at ease that my gender was not going to be an issue to the college in the path that I wanted to pursue. If anything, it was celebrated, with my college contact excited at the prospect of having a girl on board. My tutors have been so encouraging and have helped me build my skills but perhaps more importantly, my confidence. The support I have received has meant I can concentrate all my efforts into my new role and has allowed me to learn so much in a short space of time.

Whilst everyone I have spoken to has been supportive, I am not naïve to the fact that not everyone would hire a female in the construction industry. The stereotypes that exist surrounding gender play a large role in this, with people presumably feeling females aren't strong enough, wouldn't fit in on site, or wouldn't like using a portaloo - something that was raised with me in more interviews than I expected.

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